photo of our garden

Small flowers of joy will smile at us unexpectedly
when we climb the steep and rocky paths
of our life with open hearts and eyes -
We recognize gratefully, and with awe,
that between these bare rocks, far away
from any spring, and exposed to harsh winds
God does provide a crumb of soil
to allow these flowers to bloom.

German Poem - Author Unknown

If we look ahead we always say we cannot make it, but you get there and you do handle it. And when you have been there a long time you are able to offer that help to someone else.
Nancy McLean

Beauty does not live in the face, beauty is a light in the heart.
Kalil Gibran

Many small people in many small places taking many small steps can change the face of the world.
German Proverb

Some doctors say that cheerful people resist disease better than grumpy ones. The surly bird catches the germ.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us...

And as we let our light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Nelson Mandela

yard with forsythia

The following two poems were written by Ann Navan from Long Island,
an IBM patient who died in 2005.


Touching is not easy now. No, not as simple
as when we could casually reach out and touch and be touched
without planning, without thought.

In the past, standing strong upon our legs, we never had to think
of how we moved near another or how they moved near us.
our balance was fine, our muscles strong.

But as arms and legs weakened we began to freeze
with fear and caution when people drew near,
afraid we might unbalance, fall over, be hurt.

We could no longer reach out with strength and grip another into our embrace. We lost abilities most healthy folks don't even think about...

I know I never did.

Without worry or plan I would lift a hand in a greeting
wave hello, shake hands, offer a kiss, a squeeze.
A romantic embrace, give a great big hug.
Grab a child as they ran by, make soothing circles on a baby's back.
Scratch behind a puppy's ear and so much more.

I could touch and hold and hug with ease.

Now what happens is planned, cautious, careful,
difficult , sometimes impossible.
The freedom of touching known before illness came is gone.
Ann Navan/IBM


What has happened? Where have I gone?
Where is the wife, the grandma,
The mother, the lover?

Not here.
Nothing now as it was,
Nothing now as I wished it would be.

Lost...the wifely routines of homemaking.
Lost...the partner of pleasure and intimacy.
Lost...the mother my three children knew.
Lost...the grandma I thought I would be.

I am lost. What is left of me?

Love that I give.
Love that I receive.

Love from...
Love to...

My husband, love of my life, my caregiver and best friend,
My sons and my gained daughters, parents of my grandbabies,
My grandsons and my granddaughters, givers of hugs and kisses,
Each one making life beautiful, happy, rewarding, complete.

I am gone as I was,
Here as I am,
Mostly content.
Ann Navan/IBM

against all odds


There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today."

So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "Hmmm," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today." So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "Yay!", she exclaimed. "I don't have to fix my hair today!"
Attitude is everything.

butterfly at Webb Park

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.
Phil. 4:8

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

One ought, everyday, to hear a song, read a fine poem, and if possible, speak a few reasonable words.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

A Daily Reflection:

I vow to remember that today is a new day
Full of new beginnings and fresh moments.
Today, I will not cling to events of yesterday nor yesteryear
But stay connected with what today brings.
I will not madly pursue my desires at the expense of others
Nor flee from challenging tasks.
I will remain true to the unfolding process of today
Without losing myself in thoughts of what was or what might be.
I will treat today with awareness and sensitivity
Even in the most ordinary tasks.
I will apply myself wholeheartedly to the fullness of today
For I know that today holds the resource for authenticity.

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de St. Exupery

Lux et umbra vicissum, sed semper amor.
(Light and shadow by turn, but love always)

I was sad because I did not own any shoes,
Then I saw a man who did not have any feet.
African Aphorism

a sailboat passing by Webb Park

It is good to have a past that is pleasant to reflect upon. Take care to create such a gift for your future.
Mattie Stepanek

You give little when you give of your possessions.
It's when you give of yourself that you truly give.
Kahlil Gibran

Look to this day, for it is life, the very life of life;
In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence;
The bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty.
For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day...

Illness demands that you turn inward and become conscious of yourself.

To let go is not to deny, but to accept,
To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future,
To let go is to fear less and to love more.

fish pond lilies

thoughts on depression

I never asked you to least I don't believe I did, may be, ...I don't know, it is so confusing.
At any rate you are a rude guest. You take my energy, rob my sleep and with a stick you swirl and distort my dreams.

All right, you are here...for now, but understand there are two places that are forever off limits

You may not tread on my spirit, you may not occupy my soul.

I have heard of your visits to others, I know the damage you leave in your path. The wanton disregard for innocence, value and what some would call fairness.

Also I hear that laughter confuses you, that good food makes you feel bad and that nothing causes you more distress that an autumn sunset, the forever blue of a summer sky or the unconditional radiance of a child's smile

Listen and understand you might pilfer my closets, empty all the drawers, and trash my house but there are two places forever off limits.

You may not tread on my spirit and may not occupy my soul.

Do not mistake my nausea, weakness and pain as signs of your victory. They are simply small dents in the armor I wear to fight you. Instead look deeply into my eyes. They will once again remind you that there are two places forever off limits:

You must not...may not...will not tread on my spirit.
You must not...may not...will not occupy my soul!

The secret in life is not in what happens to you, but what YOU DO with what happens to you.

You have no control over the cards that life deals you, but you control how you play these cards.

our yard - june 2006


An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of a long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For two full years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and one half pots of water.

Of course the perfect pot was proud of it's accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfections, and miserable because it could do only half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house." The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That is because I've always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I've been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace this house.

We can do no great things: only small things with great love.
Mother Theresa

I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.
Franklin P. Adams


My art studio is a mess of half-chewed pastel pencils, old tubes of paint and piles of illustrations overflowing my file drawers. Recently, while cleaning up, I discovered some broken glass on the counter by the window. I also discovered that when sunlight struck the shattered glass, brilliant, colorful rays scattered everywhere.

Shattered glass is full of a thousand different angles, each one picking up a ray of light and shooting it off in a thousand directions. That does not happen with plain glass, such as a jar. The glass must be broken into many pieces.

What's true of shattered glass is true of a broken life. Shattered dreams. A heart full of fissures. Hopes that are splintered. A life in pieces that appears to be ruined. But given time and prayer, such a person's life can shine more brightly than if the brokenness had never happened. When the light of the Lord Jesus falls upon a shattered life, that believer's hopes can be brightened.

Only our great God can reach down into what otherwise would be brokenness and produce something beautiful. With him, nothing is wasted. Every broken dream and heart that hurts can be redeemed by his loving, warm touch. Your life may be shattered by sorrow, pain or sin, but God has in mind a kaleidoscope through which his light can shine more brilliantly.
Joni Eareckson Tada

Our eagerness to throw ourselves into God's arms is usually so well controlled that we wouldn't get there very fast unless he snatched us up himself.
Louis Evely

Disease brings us to our knees to give us a different view on life and what is really important.
Patch Adams

photo of our garden steps

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
Tecumseh - Shawnee

In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all, and it often comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better, but this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it, will make you less miserable now. I have had enough experience to make this statement.
Abraham Lincoln


One day as he was driving through the city, he came to the edge of the world and fell off. His first thought, as he fell, was that all those people in olden times who believed the world was square, might have been right after all.

Then he thought about his hopes and dreams - all the people he loved, his dog and all the things he wanted to do. But the fact was he was falling and falling fast - no time for thought of the future. What could he do? Then he heard a voice say: PRAY! So he did. He prayed. He said: Dear God, if possible, please let me land in a soft place.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of reward.

May there be peace within you today.
May you trust your highest power
That you are exactly where you are meant to be...
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are borne of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have receive and pass on the love
that has been given to you...
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones and allow
your soul the freedom to sing and dance.
It is there for each and every one of you.
St. Theresa


flowers on fire

Life is beauty, admire it

Life is bliss, taste it

Life is a dream, realize it

Life is a challenge, meet it

Life is a duty, complete it

Life is a game, play it

Life is a promise, fulfill it

Life is sorrow, overcome it

Life is a song, sing it

Life is a struggle, accept it

Life is a tragedy, confront it

Life is an adventure, dare it

Life is luck, make it

Life is too precious, do not destroy it

Life is life, fight for it.
Mother Theresa

ABILITY is what you're capable of doing.

MOTIVATION determines what you do.

ATTITUDE determines how well you do it.

Lou Holtz

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life:
It goes on.
Robert Frost

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances,
but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
Scottish Proverb

peaceful shoreline

Slaying the dragon of delay is no sport for the short winded.
Sandra Day O'Connor

Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it. For that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.
Norman Vincent Peale

Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.
Tom Blandi

Depresssions are clouds which darken the day. Therefore we should treat them like clouds, allowing them to simply pass by, and knowing very well that the sun still shines above them.
E.S. Lukas

purple garden flowers

The value of a life is best measured by the moments spent giving of one's self, sharing wisdom, inspiring hope, wiping tears and touching hearts.
David Waterford

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.
Chinese proverb

When we are no longer able to change our situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Victor Frankl



Thou shalt not worry, for worry is the most unproductive of all human qualities.

Thou shalt not be fearful, for most things we fear never come to pass.

Thou shalt not cross bridges before you get to them, for no one yet has succeeded in accomplishing this.

Thou shalt face each problem as it comes. You can handle only one at a time anyway.

Thou shalt not take problems to bed with you for they make poor bedfellows.

Thou shalt not borrow other people's problems. They can take better care of them than you can.

Thou shalt not try to relive yesterday for good or ill - it is gone. Concentrate on what is happening in your life today.

Thou shalt count thy blessings, never overlooking the small ones, for a lot of small blessings add up to a big one.

Thou shalt be a good listener, for only when you listen do you hear ideas different from you own. It is very hard to learn something new when you are talking.

Thou shalt not become bogged down by frustration. For 90% of it is rooted in self pity and it will only interfere with positive action.

Elodie Armstrong was in her nineties. Forty years ago she was diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis and wrote these personal commandments soon after her diagnosis.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring - all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

evening at the shore


If all music died, and music makers ceased,
I think you would sing a hymn of hope and peace.

If nights of doubts and fears against the light were hurled,
I think you would light a candle and stand against the world.

If winds of changing times uprooted trees and sod,
I think instead of moping, you would stand in praise of God.

The courage of your life is like a work of art
inscribed by memory's hand upon my grateful heart.
Perry Tanksley

I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things...

I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise...

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need for God...

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things...

I got nothing that I asked for - but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men most richly blessed.

white flowers at whitman's pond

Mankind must remember that peace is not God's gift to his creatures;
peace is our gift to each other.
Elie Wiesel

A truly rich man is one whose children run to his arms, even when His hands are empty.

To be rich in admiration and free from envy,
to rejoice greatly in the good of others,
to love with such generosity of heart that your love
is still a clear possession in absence and unkindness -
these are the gifts which money cannot buy.
Robert Louis Stevenson

longwood gardens

All things are possible until they are proved impossible and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.
Pearl S. Buck

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldnesss has genius, power and magic in it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

evening at the shore


Be the change you wish to see in the world.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

Acceptance of fate is much more soothing to me than fighting was has happened, if I can do nothing about it. That is the job grief was created to do if one knows how to use it.
Leigh MacCulloch, ALS patient

white flowers at whitman's pond

Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo,
Gratitude follows grace like thunder lightening,
Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth.
Karl Barth

Sometimes it is an artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what is left.
Itzhak Perlman, playing the remainder of his violin concert after the fourth string of his Stradivarius violin had broken.

Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.
Native American Proverb

burst of feathery flowers

When God solves your problem, you have faith in His abilities. When God does not solve your problem, He has faith in your abilities.

The reason people find it hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.
Marcel Pagnol

Cultivate your garden of thoughts and blossom where you are.

rock flower garden

I realize what life is all about,
It's hanging on when your heart has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up...
Martina McBride: In My Daughter's Eyes

The soul does not absorb negativity by accident, always by choice.


tulips and tree

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end war;
For we know that You have made the world in a way
That man must find his own path to peace
Within himself and with his neighbor.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end starvation:
For You have already given us the resources
With which to feed the entire world
If we would only use them wisely.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God,
To root out prejudice,
For You have already given us eyes
With which to see the good in all men
If we would only use them rightly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end despair,
For You have already given us the power
To clear away slums and to give hope
If we would only use our power justly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end disease,
For You have already given us great minds with which
To search out cures and healing,
If we would only use them constructively.

Therefore we pray to You instead, O God,
For strength, determination, and willpower,
to do instead of just to pray,
To become instead of merely to wish.
Jack Riemer: Contemporary Theologian

Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to work.
Albert Schweitzer, MD

stone ducks


tiger lilies in our garden

Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.

Life is a competition of endurance, made up of individual battles, not so much with outside opponents, as with our own expectations of ourselves. True success is a matter of perspective. It will be measured by whether or not we did the very best that we could with what we had.
Matthew David Hansen

Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas DEUS ibi est
Translated: Where there is charity and love, GOD is present
from a Taize movement song

Joyful times.......Praise GOD
Tough times...... Seek GOD
Quiet times........Worship GOD
Painful times......Trust GOD
All the time.........Thank GOD

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow"
Mary Anne Radmacher

beautiful blooms

Some people think that to be strong is to never feel pain. In reality the strongest people are the ones who feel it, understand it, and accept it.

HOPE reflects belief, Hope believes in the better, in the higher, in the possibilities.
HOPE rejects cynicism. People with a higher level of hope believe that though the events may not work out for them they will not be defeated.
HOPE is the dream of a soul awake.

I believe the curative powers of art are very strong. Art challenges, makes us think, diverts our thoughts away from bad feelings and lets us move on to thoughts that make us feel better.
Marcia Simon Weisman

paper whites and art

After silence that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressible is MUSIC.
Aldus Huxley

Difficulties are opportunities for inner growth.

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you found out why.
Maria Shriver

You have to be willing to let go of the life you planned in order to make the life you are meant to live.
Maria Shriver

When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.
Eckhart Tolle

There are two days in every week you should not worry about: yesterday and tomorrow. You cannot change what happened yesterday and you cannot control what will happen tomorrow.
So live for TODAY!

To live a life of gratitude is to open your eyes to the countless ways in which we are supported by the world around us. Such a life provides less space for our suffering because our attention is more balanced. We are more often occupied with noticing what we are given, thanking those who have helped us, and repaying the world in some concrete way for what we are receiving.
Gregg Krech

bare cove park - hingham, ma

We are still working on giving credit where it is due...
if any of the "unknown" quotes above seem familiar to you, please let us know where they came from

All photos on this page were taken by Dagmar Slaven.


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